A MAN has written a book detailing the heart-breaking stories of his father's time as a Lancaster bomber flight engineer in the Second World War.

Vic Jay's book, titled The Mallon Crew, is a result of years of research, which tells the story of his father Bob's life from his birth - in Grimsby, a year after the First World War ended - to his death in 1974.

Mr Jay, 69, of Pickering, said: "When he died at the age of just 55, all I had to help me was a handful of photographs, his log book and the name of his kiwi pilot, Bill Mallon.

"I soon discovered the names of the rest of his crew, but was ill-prepared for the further discoveries I was about to make.

"Bill and my father, born within a year of each other, but more than 11,000 miles apart, lived parallel lives until December 1944, when they 'crewed up' with five other young men, three from New Zealand and two from England.

"Although they survived the war, they were struck by more tragedies than it is possible to imagine, and their lives would never be the same again."

Initially starting life as a blog "just for the family", Mr Jay said the book took shape as he uncovered more details about the story.

"Almost as fascinating as the stories themselves is the way in which a modest research project evolved," he said. "Hardly a month went by without some new gem of information emerging.

"It connected me with the families of all but one of the crew, uncovered details of the aftermath of the death of both of Bill’s brothers and I even found a photograph of the crew flying to their final target.

"The highlight of the whole project was undoubtedly the discovery that one of my dad's comrades is still alive."

The surviving crew member, who turns 95 this month, is called Charles Green. He was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in 1945, after completing 50 operations.

Mr Jay said: "He lives near Blackpool, and I have had a couple of long conversations with him on the phone. I am planning to visit him with a signed copy of the book next month."

The book, which also contains a number of pictures and illustrations, is currently available from Amazon, and Mr Jay is hoping some independent bookshops will stock it.